This release of Respighi’s complete Ancient
Dances and Airs for Lute
is such an easy CD to review. This is one of the most
superb recordings that I have had the privilege to hear. I cannot
find fault with the CD which I would describe as one of the
‘great’ recordings of all time.
Respighi’s overall achievements
rest mainly on the trilogy of orchestral tone poems in which
he interpreted different facets of Rome; namely its fountains,
pines and festivals. He identified himself with the distant
past and these three Suites are modern transcriptions and adaptations
of pieces for lute from Italian and French Renaissance and early
Baroque composers. Most of the tunes were taken from the collection
of lute music transcribed and published by the Italian musicologist
Oscar Chilesotti. The movements represent
an incredibly successful synthesis of contrasts of brilliant
orchestral colours, some sturdy, some delicately transparent
and all truly delightful.
Both the Philharmonia Hungarica and Antal Dorati were at their prime at the time of this recording.
Conductor and orchestra clearly relished the art of creating
records in the studio and became a most prolific team. Dorati
directs truly exhilarating accounts bringing out the invention
and imagination in Respighi’s brilliant
scoring. These are extraordinary performances of outstanding
virtuosity conveying sheer enjoyment.
Using a CD player to play this
SACD I have not heard a recording so clear, so well balanced
and as detailed for a long time. It is hard to believe that
this is forty-five years old; it sounds of demonstration standard
- absolutely magnificent. A remarkable achievement.